Executive members and staff of NTUC FairPrice join volunteers of ACMI Soup Kitchen to prepare and deliver food to construction workers. The ACMI volunteers have been delivering packets of food monthly since the soup kitchen was set up in 2001. Photo from CSCC

SINGAPORE – The work of the Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ACMI) of offering care and support for foreign workers in Singapore has received a boost from a donation of $300,000 by NTUC FairPrice Foundation.

This donation was made on Apr 6 and disbursed to ACMI through the Caritas Singapore Community Council (CSCC), of  which ACMI is a member.

Fifteen percent of the donation will go towards the ACMI soup kitchen project set up in 2001 to provide lunch for migrant construction workers at their worksites.

Close to 80 volunteers cook, pack and deliver about 3,000 food packets a month, for about 10 months a year.

Last year, they distributed over 20,000 packed lunches.

From July 2008, volunteers started to do this from Monday to Friday, from three days a week.

The rest of the donation will go towards funding various activities of ACMI including the provision of food and shelter, befriending, training and legal aid, said Connie Fong, Chairperson of ACMI.

Seah Kian Peng, Managing Director (Group Business) of NTUC FairPrice, said, “As part of an all-inclusive labour movement caring for the welfare of all workers including foreign workers, we are happy to extend a helping hand to foreign workers who play an integral role in the development of our economy. This contribution by FairPrice Foundation will enhance the good work that ACMI has been doing to give foreign workers a sense of belonging and security.”

NTUC FairPrice Foundation was launched in March last year as a registered charity funded 100 percent by NTUC FairPrice, to “provide a better life for the community”. The foundation focuses on helping the poor and needy, nation building, community bonding, education, sports and health, and workers’ welfare.

It has contributed $7.2 million to the community since its launch. This year, it is committed to contribute at least 20 percent more to help the underprivileged. This is all part of its larger long-term plan to donate S$50 million to the community over 10 years.

Mr Seah added that “this contribution by FairPrice Foundation will enhance the good work that ACMI has been doing to give foreign workers a sense of belonging and security ... Through ACMI’s activities, the relationship between community volunteers and foreign workers will undoubtedly grow and help to promote community bonding, one of NTUC Fairprice Foundation’s key objectives.”

Elizabeth Tan, Executive Director of ACMI, said: “We welcome and appreciate FairPrice’s generosity in donating $300,000 in support of ACMI’s causes. With this donation, we will be able to reach out to many more migrant workers in need who will be most grateful for this great act of kindness from NTUC FairPrice.”

ACMI was established in 1998 to give migrants (including foreign domestic helpers, construction workers, students, foreign spouses), regardless of religion, a sense of belonging and security through acts of compassion such as befriending, hospital visits, providing food and shelter, skills training, legal aid, information and referrals.

This is the largest donation ACMI has received in its ten-year history. -By Joyce Gan

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